New Thrive Bars: A GoMacro Healthy Snacks Giveaway!

The holiday season is hard to survive, let alone thrive, with your long list of to dos.  Between shopping and family parties, it can be hard to eat healthy and take time for yourself.  A grab ‘n’ go snack could be just the thing to make your holidays sing…or at least make them a little more pleasant!

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GoMacro brand, Thrive Bars, are ancient superfood bars with unique twists of flavor and chewy granola bar texture we know and love (without the hydrogenated oils and processed goop).  GoMacro company started on a farm in quintessential midwestern Wisconsin.  This independently run business started and is still run by a mother-daughter team set out to promote health, nourishment and healing foods.

GoMacro’s Thrive Bars continue the vision with organic ingredients like puffed quinoa and hemp hearts to keep you running.  Plant-based protein, essential fatty acids and prebiotic fiber keep your tummy happy while you focus on your loved ones instead of a grumbling belly.  Wipe that grinchy frown off your face with tasty treats like:

  • Ginger Lemon – Bright citrus and tangy ginger make this bar one of our top purse packed choices.
  • Blueberry Lavender – Fancy some tea?  Pair it with these floral bars with a touch of berry for ultra-yums.

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  • Almond Apricot – Sunny stone fruit flavor with bits of roasted almond picks up a dreary afternoon.
  • Caramel Coconut – Sweet tooth be gone with this island coconut flavor drizzled in caramel.
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip – The traditional granola bar flavor but packed with 8 grams of protein in a snack sized bite.

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  • Chocolate, Nuts and Sea Salt – Simplicity = satisfaction with the savory and sweet combo of sea salt and cocoa.

Yes, they are delicioso but they are allergy and environmentally friendly too!  Thrive Bars are USDA-Certified Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, Kosher, Gluten-Free certified, 100% Vegan, and soy-free (whew, how’d they do all that in one bar?)

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Shopping sadness can now be remedied by snack gladness.  One lucky reader will WIN a box of mixed Thrive Bars.  All you gotta do is show some holiday spirit for GoMarco Thrive Bars on social media by entering our giveaway here: a Rafflecopter Giveaway!

What if you don’t win?  You can still believe in miracles!  Thrive is offered now at Whole Foods Market or Use the codeThrive30 to get 30% off an online purchase!

Wanna learn more about other GoMacro products?  Check out our previous review here.

*We were offered 1 box of GoMacro Thrive Bars in exchange for an honest review…and we can’t wait to eat more!*

Wednesday Wellness: BluePrint Booch

Anyone who knows us knows we are KRAZY for Kombucha.  We jump to pick up a bottle of that fizzy stuff.

So of course we said “Booch Yeah” to trying BluePrint‘s new kombucha fermented teas blended with their cold fresh pressed juices.

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For those not in the bubbly know, kombucha is drink made with fermented tea and sugar that houses a colony of “good for ya” bacteria (more tummy tamers).  Some of it’s possible benefits include:

  • Detoxing
  • Weight loss
  • Immunity
  • Improved Digestion

Kate and Monica recommend kombucha for people with colds, hangovers or long weekends of too many french fries.

We’ve cleansed with BluePrint® cold pressed juices as well as different kombucha brands so how does BluePrint®’s kombucha fizz up to the rest?

BluePrint® Kombucha drink line consists of six varieties:

  • Kale-a-lu-ya
  • Jack Rabbit
  • Heart of Gold
  • Miss Tang
  • Raise the Roots
  • Sweet Heat

Serving Size: 14 Ounces

Flavor: We sampled two flavors:

  • Sweet Heat is an effervescent blend of apple, ginger, lemon and a pinch of cayenne.  The spice kicks your metabolism into gear while the ginger and lemon makes you feel refreshed.
  • Raise the Roots bubbles your energy up with beets, carrot and our beloved ginger.

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Calories: Between 70-90 calories per bottle

Sugar: 19-20 grams (homemade kombucha has about 10 grams of sugar for this serving size)

Fizzy rating: 10! We think it’s the fizzish.

Ready to sip and sparkle on ya own?  BluePrint® certified USDA organic Kombucha Drinks bubble at Whole Foods Market and local retailers in the New York Tri-State area, as well as in Midwest-area stores.

 

Super Sonic Health Tonic: Tonica Kombucha

If you haven’t been reading our blog since the good ol’ days, you may not know we are Krazy for Kombucha.  Kombucha, a fermented tea, provides a boost of B vitamins, probiotics to help your tummy, and is rumored to have detoxing and immunity boosting powers.  We tend to go for kombucha when when we have have the digestive downers and are known as kombucha pushers on our friends with colds.

Now that has been cleared up, we have to tell you about a new Kombucha we are loving, Tonica Kombucha.  Tonica comes from our neighbor to the north, Oh Canada.  You may know Canada as the land of yummy things like poutine, ketchup fries, and Makintosh toffee.  Now you can also equate it to something healthy!

Tonica Kombucha was started by Zoey Shamai who, in our opinion, is sort of an Emma Stone doppelganger as well as (more notably) a traveling yoga teacher and home kombucha brewer.  Once she started sharing her home brew, her Canadian crew went crazy too so she expanded into a business.  Her Toronto based Kombrewery pumps out 8 different fuzzy flavors of Kombucha: Ginger Rapture, Green Tea Revival, Nude Brew, Peach Resolution, Mango Passion, Coffee, Vibrant Blueberry and Jasmine Tea.

We were given samples of Jasmine Tea, Coffee and Peach Resolution to try and review.

Coffee:

We were a quite curious to see how this kombucha would taste.  The coffee kombucha had a bubbly texture and light coffee flavor.  It also provided a decent boost of energy that could replace a moderated coffee drinker’s caffeine needs. It had a balance of sweet without being overpowering.

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Jasmine Tea: 

Most of us know that tea is a go to health drink as it has super anti-oxidants and Jasmine tea happens to be a star in the tea world.  The Tonica Jasmine tea has a fresh floral flavor along with the fizz and a sweet fragrant balance.  Jasmine tea also has caffeine (surprise) so you can sub it in for a detoxifying morning jolt!

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Peach Resolution:

If you have a resolution to lose weight or kick a sugary drink habit, try this inspired flavor. Peach resolution has only 30 calories, 4g of sugar and a mix of fermented organic green and black tea, rooibos, which are great for metabolism boosting and halting hunger. It surprises your palate with blackberry leaves, ginger pieces, calendula petals and organic peach extract as well.

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Tonica is only 45 calories for 1 bottle with natural carbonation.  It’s 100% raw and certified organic.  It’s also full of healthy bouncing baby bacteria, the kinds you need to keep a balanced body PH.  Tonica can be purchased in ‘Merica at Whole Foods.

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FINAL FIZZ THOUGHTS:

One kind tip for 1st time kombucha drinkers: Tonica, like most kombuchas, is a fizzy party.  Unless you want to shower in kombucha, DO NOT shake the bottle and for extra precaution, open over a sink so all your delicious kombucha doesn’t escape.  Ready to taste Tonica?  6 flavors are available at our Chicago area Whole Foods or you can check to Tonica locator here!

Be a Natural Beauty with Whole Foods Lincoln Park!

Now is the time to bare shoulders, freckled cheeks (face cheeks silly people) and calves as summer in Chicago has officially begun!  With all that exposed skin, you gotta look your best but wouldn’t it be fab if you could baby your skin with natural products?  Big box stores often have a smattering of natural skin and hair care but Whole Foods Lincoln Park has trumped them by expanding an entire section of the store for your holistic beauty regime.  Men, don’t feel left out!  They have a section for you and your bearded self too.

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Last Thursday, we were giddy to experience a sneak peek of the extension of the department.  First, we indulged in some rooftop yoga with Moksha Yoga, Mamma Chia vitality drinks and Whole Foods staff.

Afterwards, we put on our pink hard hats and toured the new beauty section and sampled holistic products.  Here are some highlights!

Fit and Active:

Looking to protein it up but not ready to commit?  Whole Foods Lincoln Park will offer a new Active Lifestyle section with both plant and whey based proteins that avoid the dreaded artificial sugars, colors or hydrogenated oils.  A superfood bulk (think maca, mangosteen or moringa) and protein powder selection will be available as well so you can taste and try a small amount before shelling out protein bucks.  We tried vegan protein samples from Vega and even got to spin our recovery drink flavors out with a green energy blending bike.

 

Stopping by after a workout?  You can belly up to the new juice and smoothie bar to get a post workout boost or ditch the sports drinks and try Nuun, a fizzy electrolyte filled tablet to enhance your water.

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Let Your Inner and Outer Beauty Shine:

Whole Foods Beauty section doesn’t only include vitamins and supplements.  Check out natural mineral based makeups, paraben-free hair cares and lotions and formaldehyde free nail polishes (among 6 other chemical free ingredients) in the new widened glowing aisles.  Feel like getting some tips on where to start?  A beauty concierge will now be waiting to address your coconut oil curiousness or coral lip color consulting needs.  We smoothed some BB cream from Pacifica while meandering around the store.  Pacifica products are 100% vegan and many use coconut water or milk (can you say “hello, I smell like a heavenly tropical island”?)  We also love that the products aren’t expensive in comparison to department store brands so you can do good things for your body and your wallet if you have a tight budget.

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A Manly Regime:

Men, you have no excuse to not be metro…or just kempt and not dirty…with Whole Foods Lincoln Park’s exclusive men’s section.  No more digging through the aisles to find the sad men’s corner at the end.  This area of the store has face, hair and body care products free of gross chemicals and just for you.

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Ready for Action!

Whole Foods kicks off their beauty celebration with a bag o’ beauty goodies, “Ready for Action” Bags, valued at $50 bucks for only (Wait for It!!) $12!  Packed in a hand printed zipped active clutch (as we like to call it) printed by RIJI Green, a company that works to end human trafficking, you will find your summer survival kit!

  • Toms of Maine Long Lasting Deodorant, Natural Powder Scent (2.25 oz)
  • Aubrey Pure Aloe Vera (4 fl oz)
  • Boiron Arnicare Gel (.5 oz)
  • Amazing Grass Amazing Meal, Vanilla Chai (.88 oz)
  • Goddess Garden Organics Natural Sunscreen SPF 30, Everyday or Kids (1 oz)
  • Garden of Life Perfect Food Raw Organic Green Super Food, Real Raw Chocolate Cacao (.34 oz)
  • Nuun Active Natural Electrolyte Enhanced Drink Tabs, Lemon + Lime (10 tabs)
  • Spectrum Essentials Seed Blends – Orchard Fruit, Savory, Tropical Fruit, or Warrior Vitality (.5-.7oz)

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Ready to become a natural beauty?  Visit Whole Foods Lincoln Park on Saturday June 27th to step into action.

Whole Foods Lincoln Park,1550 N. Kingsbury, Chicago, IL 60642

You can be extra cool like us and shop and do rooftop yoga this Sunday with this special charity event!

YOGA + CHEESE + WINE

SUNDAY, JUNE 28TH
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
ROOFTOP, $30
Experience the lighter side of yoga with YogaQuench!  After a 1-hour relaxing yoga session, sample wines and cheeses while learning about these pairings from our Certified Cheese Professional.

BYOM: Bring your own mat.  Proceeds benefit local nonprofit, Yoga for Recovery.  Register here.

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Whole Holiday Gift Ideas with Whole Foods

If you’re like most peeps, you have a bevy of holiday partays, gift exchanges and soirees to attend to in the next few weeks.  So what if you need to bring a gift or a tasty treat to your event?  You could make several stops or…you could go to Whole Foods!  Yah we know, for us with low account balances, Whole Foods may seem a bit intimidating.  But we were pleasantly surprised to learn some new developments at Whole Foods this past week at a tour of their River North headquarters.  As we walked from room to room we delighted in the holiday goodies.  In no particular order, here are some Holly Jolly Holiday ideas from Whole Foods.

DIY Gifts

Did you know Whole Foods is a DIY hot spot?  If you have a crafty side, you have all you need to develop a relaxing bath salt, tantalizing sugar scrub, or soothing lip gloss by snooping through Whole Foods’ beauty and bulk section.

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Beauty

On our tour, we created our own Epsom salts by mixing 3 cups of salt with essential oil and flower choices.  We picked the eucalyptus oil (as cold season is on the rampage right now) and calming lavender oil (cuz the holiday traffic is making us pull out our hair.  Then we threw in some bright yellow dried calendula flowers (a relative to chamomile), lavender buds, light pink Himalayan salt, and some crinkly red rose petals.

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Floral

Who says the poinsettia is the only petal you can gift?  The Whole Foods Headquarters arranged a flower bar for guests to create holiday bouquets.  Pluck some deep red and purple buds, add some baby’s breath, and grab a cute mason style jelly jar for presentation.  You can feel charitable about your choice too.  Whole Foods carries fair trade and organic flowers as well as Veriflora Certified flowers (Veriflora certification indicates better working conditions such as no child labor, fair hiring practices, and access to education, healthcare and other needed services).

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Life of the Party

You all know that thing where you’re at a party and everyone is talking around the food set up?  Party food can make or break a soiree.  Stopping by a gathering?  Whole Foods produce, bakery, and cheese departments all offer unique and most talked about treats.  Our favorite cheeses at the gathering were the truffle stuffed camembert (a soft, creamy french cow cheese with a layer of tasty fungus…yes that’s a truffle, weird right?) and a pyramid shaped goat cheese.  In the bakery section, we delighted in gluten free and vegan options like a rice flour crust blackberry pie and the banana hazelnut vegan cupcake from local cupcake purveyor, Swirlz.  And on the non-semi healthy side of things, the gigantic Carol’s cookie was so fresh and chocolately and big enough to feed your whole family.  Or be the angel of the party, bring a fresh fruit tray and rejoice on your savings.  Whole Foods has heard our wallet cries and is now setting out to price their produce on par with competitors like Marianos and Jewel-Osco.

Hosting your own get together?  Lazy it up with Whole Foods catering and wow your guests with gruyere and spinach stuffed mushrooms, ripe guacamole, or ethnic goodies like spanakopita, a greek stuffed phyllo dough appetizer.

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Swirlz Cupcake – Vegan Peppermint Chocolate

Feeling inspired?  Go out there with confidence and shop, dear friends, and impress those peeps with your Whole Foods Holiday swag.

Quick and Easy Superfood Breakfasts

Superfoods are all the rage right now but why shouldn’t they be?  They are super after all, super at making your body feel spectacular.  In a world of fast food, we’re all in need of healthy heros like Sambazon!

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The brand Sambazon focuses on fair trade, non GMOs and sustainability of the cute lil acai superberry.  We recently tasted two of their acai breakfast (or any time of day, for that matter) options and simply swooned over their hunger pang crushing powers.

The first sample was the chocolate, almond and coconut milk protein smoothie.  Lactose issue folks and vegans can rejoice over this tasty drink containing 8 grams of vegan protein to get the day started.  We are a big fan of coconut milk as it adds a rich touch that makes the drink feel decadent.

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The second option, Acai Berry Superfood Smoothie Packs, breaks down to the bare essence of the superfood, fair trade organic acai berry pulp, in a convenient frozen ready to blend serving.  We love to make green smoothies to get a pop of spinach or kale in the morning and incorporated the pack into our easy and quick green recipe with coconut water, spinach and blueberries.

Monica & Kate’s Super Samba Greenie:

  • Take 1 cup coconut water (like Zico or Vita Coco) and put in a magic bullet or blender.
  • Add a smattering of blueberries, handful of spinach and half a superfood smoothie pack and viola!

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Your not too sweet not too sour SUPER green smoothie has been created!

Like the Sambazon Protein Smoothie but wanna make your own version?

Monica and Kate’s Fake Out Samba Protein Smoothie:

  • 1 cup Coconut-Almond blend milk
  • 1 packet Samanazon Acai superfood smoothie pack
  • 1/2 cup frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (like Ghirardelli)

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Voila!  3 breakfast options to break from your egg and granola routine.  Ready to get in touch with your inner champion?  You can find Sambazon at oh so many retailers like Marianos, Jewel-Osco, Whole Foods, Walgreens and even (*gasp*) Walmart!  They are everywhere :).

Be Healthful Retreat: A Holistic Health and Wellness Retreat

The Healthful Guide Presents:

The Be Healthful Retreat: A Holistic Health and Wellness Retreat

Event: Be Healthful: A Health & Wellness One Day Retreat

Hosted By: The Healthful Guide and In Good Taste Magazine

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Oh DANG! Workout classes all day, mini spa treatments, juicy samples

#BeHealthful will partner with In Good Taste Magazine, Whole Foods, Karyn’s Raw, and other health and wellness leaders in Chicago for an all ­day wellness retreat and holistic health industry event at Moonlight Studios.  Get ready to be educated, entertained, and inspired!

Be Healthful will offer a series of pop­ up fitness classes, workshops given by wellness professionals, healthy eats, and over 20 health conscious vendors.  The retreat will provide an oasis for guests to recharge and reset for the week ahead.  All will leave pampered and energized.

Thirty percent of ticket sales will be donated to the official charity beneficiary of the event, Charity4LIFE.

The one day retreat is an “open ­house” meaning guests can come and go throughout the day and can build their own itinerary. Upon registration, guests can reserve their spot in what workshops/yoga classes they want to attend, and also the times that they want to visit each vendor for their spa services and wellness consultations.

What is included in the registration fee ($39.00) and $10 OFF code: CHIORGANICGIRLS

  • ­ 10 yoga and pilates classes (you can take as many as you like throughout the day) Moksha Yoga, Exhale Spa, Pilates Pro Works, Abigail Simon of Joffrey Ballet, Yoga Six, Tru Body Yoga, Yoga Loft, Flex Pilates, and more.
  • ­ 7 workshops including Ayurvedic detoxes, reflexology workshops, nutrition and motivational talks, cooking demos, and more.
  • ­ Spa services including: full body spray tans, facials, oxygen treatments, light therapy sessions, scalp and shoulder massages; mini makeovers including makeup consultations and hair styling, and more.
  • ­ Wellness consultations including: detoxing consults, posture examinations, tongue examinations, mind and body consultations, and more.
  • ­ Food and Beverage tastings including juices, a variety of plant ­based cuisine, vegan and paleo baked goods, artisan teas, and herbed popcorn. (guests have the option to purchase goods from vendors at guests discretion)

Oh DANG! Workout classes all day, mini spa treatments, juicy samples…what are you waiting for?  Come join us because we all need a chance to recharge and pamper ourselves.

About The Healthful Guide:

The Healthful Guide is a plant based dining and healthy living directory for the city of Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Healthful is dedicated to bringing more awareness to living a nourishing and holistic lifestyle. Their core belief? That life is all about being Healthful. To learn more visit http://eathealthful.com

Go Deep or Go Home: The Art of #Chicago Style #Pizza

What do a deep dish pizza and a magician have in common?  They both have good taste!  Ok, that was a stretch but did you  know magicians could have more than just doves up their sleeves?

Recently, Now We’re Cookin’ invited members of Chicago Food Bloggers (including lucky saucy us) to learn to make the Chicago style pizza at their Evanston cook space.  To our surprise, instead of pulling rabbits out of hats, our chef, a professional magician, pulled a fantastic pizza out of the oven.

Chef Brian Kirshenbaum keeps his pizza dough straightforward (yeast, warm water, all purpose flour, cornmeal and oil) but sneaks in one secret ingredient (since a magician can’t reveal all his tricks).  He demonstrated the proper way to press down the dough into a deep pan with the slight of a hand.

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Next, he created the sauce by squeezing the juice from fresh whole peeled plum tomatoes and sprinkling in fairy dust…or spices (oregano, black pepper, salt, and garlic) as we non magicians call them.  Then guests partnered up and got to work pressing their own pizza dough and prepping their chunky sauce.

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Finally, the show came to it’s climatic point as fresh deli sliced mozzarella was pressed on the bottom.  Guests picked up to 3 vegetables/meats to fill their own pizza.  We shuffled through the ingredients and chose spinach, mushrooms, roasted red peppers and few thinly sliced fennel.  Veg head Monica loaded up on the plants and a dash of spice instead of sticking with just the traditional thick chunk of gooey cheese (Mon is not fan of xxxtra cheese but will eat deep dish to support her city).

Finally, we spread the chunky tomato sauce over the top of the pizza and sprinkled Parmesan cheese and viola; a magic Chicago pizza appeared :).  Notice the delicate saucy finish.  As we marveled at the fresh flavor of the pizza, Chef BK astounded us with magic acts to titillate our other senses.

 

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We had a blast learning from Chef and Illusionist Brian Kirshenbaum at Now We’re Cookin’.  And now Mon loves Chicago’s own deep dish pizza!